There were a lot of tearful moments at the memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Monday, but UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma did his best to help keep things light.
Auriemma was one of several people who spoke at the remembrance. The 11-time national champion had a close relationship with Kobe, who made a huge impact in the women’s basketball community. During his speech, Auriemma joked about how he felt bad for Gianna when Geno learned that Kobe would be coaching Gianna’s team. Auriemma said he found it ironic when “the uncoachable one” reached out to him for advice about coaching. The UConn coach then joked that he knew Gianna wasn’t listening to her father’s advice when he saw Gianna pass the ball to one of her teammates.
Geno Auriemma: "He said, 'I'm coaching my daughter's team.' I said, 'Oh, my god. That poor kid.' So when I watched highlights of her playing, on about the 3rd or 4th time she touched the ball, Gianna passed it when she was open. I thought, 'she's not listening to her father.'" pic.twitter.com/e4xuVwpMKa
Bryant was certainly known more for scoring than passing, and that is something he had no problem owning. It’s also a mentality that made him one of the greatest players of all time, so poking fun at him for being a ball hog is in many ways a compliment.
Diana Taurasi brought a bit of levity to the Kobe Bryant memorial in Los Angeles on Monday with a hilarious shot at LeBron James.
Taurasi, who is a 3-time WNBA champion and the league’s all-time scoring leader, was discussing the skill level of Bryant’s daughter Gigi Bryant at a young age, remarking how amazing it was that she had a turnaround fadeaway jumper at the age of 11. Then she zeroed in on LeBron with the funniest line of the day to that point, remarking that he doesn’t even have it now.
Taurasi knew Bryant well, and he was a big fan of hers, even giving her a nickname inspired by his own. Now she even gets to take a friendly shot at LeBron in his own building at Bryant’s memorial service with a very memorable line.
An investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna last month is still ongoing, but Bryant’s wife Vanessa is apparently confident the tragedy could have been avoided if proper safety measures were taken.
According to a report from TMZ, Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter in which Kobe, Gianna and seven others were traveling when it crashed into the hillside in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26. The lawsuit claims that Island Express, the company that owned the chopper, was only authorized to fly under visual flight rules. The conditions the day of the fatal crash did not meet the standards of visual flight rules, meaning any pilot operating in them would be doing so under special visual flight rules, or special VFR.
The lawsuit states that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was traveling 180 mph in foggy conditions in a steep decline at the time of the crash. The documents also note that Zobayan was disciplined in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule minimums by flying into an airspace of reduced visibility.
Vanessa Bryant is seeking punitive damages, claiming Zoboyan and Island Express were reckless. A specific dollar amount for the damages was not listed.
Kobe traveled with Zobayan frequently, and all indications are Zobayan was his most trusted pilot. Kawhi Leonard spoke highly of Zobayan after the crash and said he had flown with the pilot many times.
Staples Center and the surrounding area was littered with purple and gold and tributes to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Monday. We’ve seen dozens of murals in Los Angeles since Kobe, Gianna and seven others died in a tragic helicopter crash last month, and some of those murals are even on cars.
Prior to Monday’s memorial, exotic cars featuring custom Kobe and Gianna paint jobs were spotted outside Staples Center.
Monday’s memorial service is expected to be one of the most emotional days in Staples Center history. Thousands of people applied for tickets to the event, and there was even talk of moving it to the LA Coliseum to meet the demand. However, it is only fitting that the service is being held where Kobe dominated on the court and became a global icon.
Bill Russell played a major role in making the Celtics-Lakers rivalry one of the greatest in all of sports, but the Boston legend put that aside on Sunday to pay tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers hosted the Celtics on Sunday, which was the first time the two teams met since Bryant, Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter and seven other people tragically died in a helicopter crash last month. Russell was in attendance for the game, and he arrived at Staples Center wearing Kobe’s No. 24 jersey.
Kobe was an 18-time All-Star during his illustrious NBA career. He won a record-tying four All-Star Game MVPs (Bob Pettit also won four).
“Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world.”
Bryant won NBA All-Star Game MVP in 2002, 2007, 2009 (co-winner with Shaquille O’Neal) and 2011. This suggestion was floated around the time of Kobe’s tragic death, and the NBA listened and acted well by making it happen. Great move by the league.
Ticket requests for the memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant are already exceeding the Staples Center capacity.
According to Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports, more than 90,000 people applied for tickets in the first 24 hours of availability. That’s significantly more than the approximately 20,000 Staples Center can hold, especially considering many seats will be taken by family, friends, and associates of Bryant.
The opportunity to purchase tickets will be afforded at random to applicants. Fans who do not land tickets have been asked to stay home and watch the memorial service on television instead of crowding around Staples Center.
The demand is incredible, but not unexpected. TicketMaster had warned of “extremely high” demand for seats. Tickets are available in three different tiers, each one priced in a way that pays tribute to Kobe and Gianna. Some of those prices are very high, but that’s clearly not having a negative impact on interest.
The Los Angeles Lakers are holding a memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna at Staples Center later this month, and the pricing for the event represents one of what are sure to be many touching tributes.
The celebration of life will take place on Feb. 24, and the Lakers announced ticket information for the event on Friday. Fans can register in advance for the opportunity to purchase tickets, which will be sold at three different price points — $224 each, 2 for $224 and $24.02 each. All proceeds will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
Bryant, of course, wore No. 24 during the latter half of his Hall of Famer career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Gianna wore No. 2 while playing youth basketball in the Mamba Academy and elsewhere, which is why the Lakers chose $24.02 for one category of tickets.
Kobe and Gianna were two of nine people who died in a helicopter crash last month. The memorial service is expected to bring thousands of people to Staples Center and the surrounding area, and one NBA team has already altered travel plans to allow players to attend.
The Boston Celtics are showing some major respect to one of their biggest rivals of all-time.
Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reported on Wednesday that the Celtics, who will be in Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Feb. 23, are delaying their team flight to allow players and staff to attend the Kobe Bryant memorial the next day. The memorial will be held at 10 AM on Feb. 24 at Staples Center, where the Celtics and Lakers are scheduled to play the day before at 12:30 PM.
Playing for the rival Lakers for his entire 20-year career and facing them in two separate NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010, Bryant was very much a thorn in Boston’s side as a player. But this gesture further speaks to the unparalleled level of admiration Bryant commanded around the league and the world.
The Golden State Warriors are paying respects to the late Kobe and Gianna Bryant on Saturday night.
The Warriors are facing the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time since Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter crash on January 26. They made T-shirts featuring the numbers 2, 8 and 24 and put them on every seat at Chase Center. Kobe wore numbers 8 and 24 wore during his Lakers career, and Gianna wore No. 2 as a player.